July 14, 2024

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield joins Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Africa to strengthen ties and push controversial transition to ‘green economy’

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will travel to Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya, starting January 25 to strengthen ties with the three African nations and push the controversial transition to the green economy, her office announced on Sunday.

Her trip follows last week’s start of a 10-day African visit by United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday, and plans to visit Zambia and South Africa.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. himself announced last month during the second U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington D.C. that he will visit sub-Saharan Africa in 2023, the first trip by a sitting U.S. president since then President Barack Obama visited a decade ago.

The U.S. Mission to the UN said Thomas-Greenfield’s visit is to “affirm and strengthen our partnerships with key current and former U.N. Security Council members.”

She will first visit Ghana, where she will meet with women leaders and civil society representatives on January 25, the U.S. Mission said. Ghana is an elected member of the UN Security Council completing a two-year term.

She will then head to Mozambique, which unlike Ghana, is just starting its first-ever two-year term on the council.

The U.S. Mission to the UN added that during her visit, January 26-27, Thomas-Greenfield will meet with UN officials, alumni of U.S. exchange programs, international relations students, civil society and entrepreneurs.

From Mozambique, she will head to Kenya January 28-29, whose two-year term on the UN Security Council ended on December 31.

In Kenya, Thomas-Greenfield’s visit will focus on humanitarian programs, including the regional response to drought and assistance to refugees, her office said.

It added that the visit will also focus on “the impact Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to have on global food security, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region.”

She will also meet refugees pending resettlement in the United States and Kenya-based entrepreneurs who are leading “the country’s transition to a green economy.”

For Africa, climate change remains a controversial topic. Many people do not have access to clean water, electricity or even fertilizers to farm. The idea that climate change is responsible for their misery and they should abandon fossil fuels is still hard to swallow.

Both visits by Yellen and Greenfield are part of President Biden’s attempt to strengthen ties with the continent and counter China and Russia.

During his remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC last December, President Biden announced new investments focused on boosting infrastructure and trade and countering the growing influence of China and Russia.

He said that the U.S. will support innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, and that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is investing $370 million in the continent to increase access to clean energy and supply farmers with fertilizers and help companies that bring water to communities.

In addition, Biden announced a new initiative to allow Africa participate in the digital economy that would include collaborations between Viasat and Microsoft to bring internet access to at least five million people in Africa.

He added, “I proposed this initiative together with the rest of the G7 to help fill the need for quality, high-standard infrastructure in Africa and in low-income and middle-income countries around the world.  And at the G7 meeting earlier this year, we announced our intention to collectively mobilize $600 billion in the next five years.

“Today’s announcements joint — join a portfolio of Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment projects already underway in Africa, including mobilizing $8 billion in public and private finance to help South Africa replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources and develop cutting-edge energy solutions like clean hydrogen; a deal worth $2 billion to build solar energy projects in Angola; $600 million in high-speed telecommunications cable that will connect Southeast Asia to Europe via Egypt and the Horn of Africa and help bring high-speed Internet connectivity to countries all along the way,” added Biden.

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